in News March 27, 2017

Westminster terror attack – Our diversity is our strength

It was just another normal day in the office, until colleagues read a Breaking News story online: “Parliament shooting: Police officer and another man shot outside House of Commons”. 

We followed the live news all afternoon, until it was then confirmed that this was a terror attack, at the heart of  our democracy. As the day unfolded, details of the attack began emerging. A car ran over and killed innocent civilians on Westminster Bridge, and a police officer, PC Keith Palmer had been stabbed and killed. The attacker, who was British-born, was shot dead by police.

London is a beacon of tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect for one another, this was a mindless attack on us all. As the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan repeatedly states, the strength of London is in its diversity. We celebrate and welcome people from countless ethnicities and all faiths and none.

As there were clearer details of the attack, faith groups, organisations, and institutions were quick to condemn this tragic attack.

17457252_1373339782710021_5968319396205127388_n

That evening, the Mayor of London had organised a vigil at Trafalgar Square the next day to bring Londoners together to remember the victims and to stand together to condemn this attack. There was a sense of unity in not only London but also around the world in the aftermath of a terror attack such as this. Faiths Forum for London brought together faith leaders prior to the vigil, and stood on the steps of St. Martin In The Fields Church, where a one minute silence was observed to remember the victims, where we all later, attended the main vigil at Trafalgar Square.

dsc_0487

Faiths forum for London and the faith leaders attended the Trafalgar Square Vigil together and were asked to share the stage with MP’s, community faith leaders, and many more. The Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner Craig Mackey, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

“This is a time to express our gratitude to the heroism of the police officers who ran towards danger and at the same time encouraged others to run to safety, London is a great city full of amazing people from all backgrounds and whilst Londoners face adversity we always pull together, we stand up to our values, and show the world we are the greatest city in the world. Our response to this attack, shows the world what it means to be a Londoner.” 

To watch the full vigil, click here.

img_3604

img_3608

It was heart-warming to see how London came together to remember the victims and responded with positivity and love; a campaign launched by Muslims United for London to raise money to support the families of victims of the Westminster terror attack has seen donations soar to almost £10,000 within 24 hours of the attack.

The following day, senior faith leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, Sheikh Khalifa Ezzat, Chief Imam London Central Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed Al Hilli, Islamic Leader from the Shi’a Community all condemned the attack and called for calm and unity. The response from British faith leaders and religious communities is just the beginning, but it is already proving to be a shining example of strength in our diversity and peaceful coexistence.

On Sunday afternoon, the Women’s March, Akeela Ahmed and Julie Siddiqi organised for women to form a hold hands across Westminster bridge, where the attack happened. The 5 minute silence started at 4pm, and it was a time of reflection to pay our respects. A member of our team attended and said:

“It was a very touching for us all to come together, to reflect and pay our respects to those who lost their lives. It was very moving and emotional, a couple who were passing by joined us and later shook my hand, and told me they stand together with us. There is something very empowering when women come together.”

17522856_10154324648380913_6758801328257206139_n

We pray for everyone affected by the terror attack in London.

 

in News March 27, 2017


Share